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Future BMW M3 Could Go EV, Suggests BMW M Boss

The M3 story begins with four cylinders. The subsequent generation upgraded to six, a formula that carried over to the E46. For the E90, the Bavarian automaker spruced things up with a high-revving V8 that develops peak hp at 8,300 rpm despite its cross-plane crankshaft.
G80 BMW M3 161 photos
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Due to increasingly stringent emission regulations, the F80 switched back to six cylinders. Aided by a couple of turbos, this lump is understandably more powerful. The recipe carried over to the G80, which also switched from an optional dual-clutch transmission to a torque-converter automatic.

BMW’s go-faster division further sweetens the deal with M xDrive, which can be switched to rear-drive mode on the fly. The German automaker expects 50 percent of its global sales to be all-electric vehicles by 2030, and in some markets that include the UK and European Union, the company won’t be able to sell combustion-engined vehicles beyond the year 2035.

Given these circumstances, BMW M boss Frank van Meel suggests that something obvious will happen to the M3. “Maybe it will go electric – but if it does, it will always be an M3. Whatever the powertrain, you should always be able to drive our cars and know they are M cars. We’ve just been talking to customers and the feedback is that 90-95% don’t care what direction we take on powertrain,” he told British auto magazine Autocar.

The G20-generation 3 Series, and implicitly the M3, will be retired in 2025 or thereabouts. It remains to be seen if the next 3 Series and M3 will keep their internal combustion with some kind of electrical aids to keep CO2 emissions low, but it’s a certainty the next one after that will go electric.

The first-ever BMW M with electric assistance comes in the guise of the XM, which is rocking a plug-in hybrid V8 powertrain. A variation of this high-performance setup will be used by the next-generation M5. Also worthy of note, rumor has it an M5 Touring is reportedly coming in 2024.

Editor's note: Current M4 also pictured in the gallery.

 
 
 
 
 

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